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Inspiration

Written by Kate Manchester


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As an administrator of an RPG, be your title Dungeon Master, Game Master, Story Teller or what have you, perhaps one of the most difficult tasks you will face is coming up with scenarios for the characters. While pre-made adventures can be terrific aids, they are not necessarily conducive to maintaining the continuity of an extended campaign.

So just where do you look for ideas for scenarios? Here are ten suggestions, in no particular order, which can be applied to virtually any sort of RPG:


Read, read, read
Read books not just in the genre of your game but also any other books that look interesting. With a little work, a plot from a book can provide a scenario for your players. Better yet, combine elements from more than one book to confuse your players that might have read the book in question. (Of course, I'm certainly NOT suggesting you plagiarize and use something exactly as written in the book. If you do that, be sure you mention after the scene is over what book it's from. After all, you don't want the players to start reading the book to find out all the twists and turns of your plot.) For example, you might read a story of a prophecy and tailor it to the background of one or more of the characters. Make sure the prophecy is repeated, and the scenario is afoot. This method can of course, also be applied to movies.


Keep up on current events
Perhaps not as useful for a fantasy setting, but read the newspaper for interesting news articles that can either be used as part of your story or subjected to a What If? analysis. News is being written every day, so you have a virtually endless source of possible plotlines. For example, a story of a cure for a disease could be turned into a story of danger and intrigue as rival groups vie for control over the source of the drug, a rare plant found only in a government protected forest. Perhaps the characters are assigned to a team to find new locales for the plant, and accidentally stumble on someone's illegal "plantation."


What if?
This is a question frequently asked by science-fiction writers. Ask yourself what if? and create a scenario around it. For example: What if Fantasy Literature were outlawed? That is the premise of Ray Bradbury's Classic Farenheit 451.


Get Personal
This is not as easy. Take your personal experiences and let your imagination expand on them. For example, say you're walking to class or hanging out with your friends. Extrapolate upon this. Perhaps on your way you witness a murder and the dying victim hands you a film container. Then present this scenario to your players.

Another way to get personal: Take your darkest thoughts and turn them into a scenario. For example, after particularly a nasty breakup, I felt jealousy at the sight of a couple together. Instead of continuing my hatred, I decided to create a scenario where a serial killer targets young couples, killing only the male, leaving the woman to grieve. As a further twist, I looked for the PC that the killer would be the most jealous of, and framed that character for the murders.


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